So Woot! had a refurb Tivo HD up last week for $179.99 (plus the usual Wootly $5 shipping), and I decided to take the plunge. Cable guy was here to install my cable card, and I'm up, running and very very pleased :)
My rationale was this: dollar for dollar, I get really good value out of my cable TV + Tivo setup. My cable bill, including internet, is $87 plus $12.95 a month for Tivo. Now, I'll admit that I'm spoiled, and I have (and love) my HDTV. It's a guilty pleasure that I've been running both a Comcast HD DVR and a regular Tivo. My thought process is that by dropping the Comcast DVR, I'll be saving $11.95 a month on my cable bill, plus I'll gain a bit on my monthly electric since I'll only have one box running instead of 2. Since I'm blowing my entire entertainment and discretionary budget (those 2 items together total $100 a month) on this purchase, that leaves $84.99 as a net cost. Deduct what I'm saving on my cable bill, and this pays itself off in 7 months.
Yes, I'm justifying, and the best thing for me to have done would have been to just cancel cable and get an antenna for my TV. In time, I might get to that point, but for now, I want to know if Galactica makes it to Earth, and who the last cylon is, damn it.
Woot! "customer service" sucks, BTW. I've ordered from Woot 4 times in the past year, and 2 out of the 4 have been bad experiences. The expensive ones, at that.
Tivo's customer service, on the other hand, rocks. Tivo is sending me new cables for (get this) ALL of my home theater components! I made a comment about my other gear "is going to be SO jealous of the brand new Tivo component cables!" and she asked me how many I needed! I just needed one other set, so I didn't get greedy. I also mentioned that I was planning on giving my old Series 2 box away to get a Tivo Rewards referal so I could get one of the back-lit, learning Tivo remotes. She upgraded me on the spot to the better remote.
Tivo was great, and I was more than pleased with their response even before all the upgrades.
Yes, I realize that Woot just shipped me the box they got from Tivo, but part of the cost of doing business is that you have to, as a retailer (and that's what Woot is, make no mistake about it) be prepared to make things right with your customer if a manufacturer drops the ball. A response from Woot that was basically:
"Heh. Oh well. We placed an order for it, you'll get it sometime. Later, loser!"
Pathetically inadequate, especially when the customer has identified that this is the second bad experience in 4 total tries.